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This study examines the effects of external environmental factors, specifically monetary reward and choice, on intrinsic motivation, and tests whether they are moderated by individual differences in causality orientation. We randomly assigned 103 undergraduates to one of four conditions: reward (reward vs. no reward) × choice (choice vs. no choice). Participants were given puzzles to solve in the experimenters' presence, which they were free to continue tackling when the experimenters left the room. We measured the time spent solving puzzles when free to choose other activities, task enjoyment, and perceived competence as dependent variables. Interest in puzzles was unaffected by receiving a reward in participants with high autonomy orientation but dropped significantly in participants with low autonomy orientation. Choice over the task increased competence in participants with high autonomy orientation but lowered competence in low autonomy orientation. Finally, we found no significant effects on time spent on puzzles. The present study contributes to current literature regarding the causes of differences in performance in various achievement settings.
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